Buying a List vs Accessing a Database (CFFL 371)

Buying a List vs Accessing a Database

Jack Butala: SX. Leave us your feedback for this podcast on iTunes and get the free ebook at, you don’t even have to read it. Thanks for listening.

Jack Butala:                         Jack Butala with Jill DeWit.

Jill DeWit:                            Hello there.

Jack Butala:                         Welcome to our show today. In this episode, Jill and I talk about buying from a list versus accessing a database. Pretty important stuff today, Jill. Happy Monday.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Jack Butala:                         Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Cool. All right. Mike asked, “I recently purchased a piece of property with a tax lien on it. Is it likely that the property will be taken back by the county? Should I pay off the lien before I sell the property? What are the consequences of not paying off the lien?”

Jack Butala:                         Okay. This is a pro level question and I’m really, really glad he asked it. A lot of times we say, “Hey, buy a piece of property and don’t worry about the taxes. You can sell it with the taxes associated, without the tax. You can pay the taxes. In urban areas, the taxes can be substantial. A lot of times it’s better just to buy the property. There’s back taxes on it. You know that. You checked them out. You called the treasurer and everybody understands. With tax liens, if there has a tax lien, it’s pretty far back. You do not want to mess with this. What you want to do is call the treasurer, it’s almost always the treasurer at the county or sometimes it’s the board of supervisors, and pay the lien off. This can get expensive. You want to really make sure that the deal economically works before you get all the way into it.

Having said that, tax liens are a fantastic way to make a ton money in real estate. That’s way beyond the scope of the show and it’s Monday and I want to try to have some fun. Just saying the word tax on Monday is painful.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s right. No wonder Jill’s glossed over, but everybody listening their eyes started to gloss over.

Jack Butala:                         This is the shortest I can answer it. The takeaway from it is if you’re purchasing a property that’s got a tax lien on it, you could lose it all. You just want to make sure that you address the tax lien so that you can again control the property. That’s the takeaway. If you have a question or you want to be one the show, reach out to either one of us on Today’s topic buying a list, an ownership list, property ownership list versus accessing an accessor type database. Boy, this could be one of the shortest shows ever, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            You think so? I have a lot to say.

Jack Butala:                         Oh, good. Good.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, that’s so darn funny.

Jack Butala:                         Hey, can you carry me on the show then?

Jill DeWit:                            Because my list is so long it’s not even funny. This is so important to me that I did a whole blog about this. It was titled “Hey, buddy, you want to buy a list?” It’s like buying a list from someone around the corner and in the alley. “Hey, 50 bucks. I’ll give you a list of all the property owners.” Don’t do that.

Jack Butala:                         Carry me on this show.

Jill DeWit:                            Here, I have a laundry list of things and I will go through them happily here.

Jack Butala:                         Let me give just a tiny bit of background then you can jump in. What we do, if you’re new to listening, and what our group does is we send offers to people in the mail that own property and we send them for substantially less than we think the retail market value of the property is. Where do you get a real accurate list of ownership? You can either buy a list. You have two choices, buy a list or access a database. Go for it, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Perfect. Thank you for the intro. All right. Here’s the difference. We go to the top, top, top best, best source. It’s CoreLogic RealQuest is where we get our data. We don’t just buy a list from somebody or some older things and here’s why. Lists maybe inaccurate. They maybe out of data. They maybe incomplete. They are often hard to decipher. Time consuming to work with before and after the fact and always more expensive than a total nationwide access. I’ll go through these things a little bit more in detail because like I said, this is so important to me. This came up with a new member call. It was a person last week who was thinking about getting in our group. This is why we’re talking about this.

Jack Butala:                         Oh, good. Good. Good.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, what was funny because at the end of the call, we kind of explained a little more what we did. Anybody who wants to you can schedule a call with me off our website and that’s what this individual did. At the end of the call, they thanked me for my time and then a few hours later I got an email from the person saying, “Hey, instead of plopping down all this money and doing this stuff, can I just buy a list from you from a county now and then?” I went, “Oh, no. No. No.” Because it’s so not the way you want to do this.

Jack Butala:                         To be successful at this, you need to be real comfortable with data and using data and downloading it and scrubbing it and getting it into a mail merge in the form of offers. I’ve been doing this since the 90s. to this day, every list I scrub I learn something.

Jill DeWit:                            Then you go back and do it later by the way when the people call you back. You need to have the data not just a list. It was so funny because part of me wanted to say, “Sure, I’ll sell you a list,” because by the time … What’s funny is by the time I sell five lists, this person could have accessed the data 10 times over and I’ll go into that.

Jack Butala:                         It’s just a crutch. I mean if you’re buying a list, what you’re doing ineffectively, you’re effectively avoiding learning.

Jill DeWit:                            True.

Jack Butala:                         One of the reasons we’re so successful with this is because we know exactly who’s showing the signs in a database of selling their property. There’s a lot of reasons. There’s a lot of accessed values. It’s a pretty in-depth topic and you get nothing of that. You get nothing. You learn nothing from buying a list.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true because every time you … We have our members doing that. Every time they send mailers out, they go back and go, “Oh, I’m going to tweak this. I’m going to tweak that and I’m going to better and better results and more of a response. Maybe better purchase prices,” whatever it is. They learn and they tweak and you’re right. You can’t do that with a list. You have that same list. Here’s the thing. I’m going to through these a little bit more in detail. I mean list maybe inaccurate. You don’t know what all is available to you unless you’re pulling it down yourself. You need to be seeing all the parameters and all the different possibilities of data at your fingertips as you’re doing this. They maybe inaccurate, maybe out of data. You don’t really know how recently that list was accessed. Never mind that someone put a data on, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Jack Butala:                         Properties get bought and sold all the time and the accessor’s database gets up … The source of all of these lists is the accessor tax rolls from the county directly. Do you mind if I jump in here?

Jill DeWit:                            No. Please do.

Jack Butala:                         From there, there’s aggregators. They’re called aggregators. There’s really approximately four places you can get a list right now that are in any way worthwhile. The number one way is RealQuest, CoreLogic RealQuest and then we’re heavily involved in that. We’re a licensed reseller. Number two is TitlePro or AgentPro247. We’re a licensed provider. Then there’s Melissa Data which specializes in tons of types of data like if you wanted to buy a list of all the people who own hospitals or all the people who own ice cream stores. Their quality of data is pretty strong. We intentionally did not include it because they don’t specialize in real estate and there’s nothing wrong with that. Then there’s a fourth place, Jill. I’m drawing a blank. I’ll think of it in terms of the next time of the show. Oh, the county.

Jill DeWit:                            The county itself.

Jack Butala:                         That’s what it does. A lot of counties give the data away or they charge you 50 bucks. They send you a CD. Sometimes if you’re lucky, it’s online.

Jill DeWit:                            Some are 200. Some are even more. I’m serious. That’s what I was going to get to at the end.

Jack Butala:                         I don’t want to takeaway your thunder, but that is the fourth place. There’s no circumstance that you want to go to the data. Ironically, you’d think going to the source is better and cheaper and all that, it’s not and Jill will get to that in a second.

Jill DeWit:                            Here’s the thing. By having the best data, you have all the stuff at your fingertips. Going to another source even like the county, you’re actually most of the time working with a specific individual and they’re pulling down the data that you’ve asked for. What if you didn’t know what to ask for or what if they forgot a column, they forgot something that’s available to you? You’re now staring at the CD or you’ve been emailed a list or something like that. Now you get to go through and decipher it. It’s very time consuming and every county is going to hand this to you in a different way.

Jack Butala:                         Totally different format.

Jill DeWit:                            They don’t have all the columns lined up.

Jack Butala:                         That’s the problem.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s not. When you go to do your A to figure out and sort through the data so you can do your mail merge, that’s time consuming. Then when you go back to use it, maybe when a seller’s calling you back … Say you did this and you got all the way through it. You did a mail merge. You got some letters out there. Now you have a seller calling you back, oh, my goodness. You have to go back and go through all the different stuff to figure out which list and where was it from.

Jack Butala:                         It’s not daunting. In fact, we are here to make it easy and the tools that we provide makes this as easy as it’s going to get. With an aggregator, every single county is in the exact same format and it contains the exact same data. You only have to learn once.

Jill DeWit:                            You know what’s funny about this, Jack? I’m glad you’re bringing this up because our number one source for the data for the mailers is CoreLogic RealQuest. They are consistent. Even TitlePro247 is not. It’s a good tool that we have that we offer to our people, but it’s still not as good as the number one. You know what? Here’s the big picture people forget. Your time is valuable. It doesn’t do you any good to go county X, pay seriously a couple hundred dollars, I know people that have done this and they’re probably listening right now, and then they waited six weeks to get this list. Now they’re going through this list and then they’re getting a VA involved. Okay. Let’s get some time and some more money into that. Now we’re pushing two months and they haven’t saved any money at all and they haven’t gotten a mailer out. That’s the part that I go, “This is crazy.”

Jack Butala:                         Of all the things that you can outsource and should outsource as a real estate investor, scrubbing data, collecting data and scrubbing it, is absolutely one of the ones that you do not want to outsource for a million reasons and here’s why. One of the columns in the correct data set is the assessed value of the property. There’s improvement assessed value like the assessor value of the structure. Let’s say if it’s a house, we have the land assessed value. This is crucial to understand this to be successful when you send mailers out. The way that you used that assessed value is how you price the offer you’re going to send. Many times I see people who buy lists they just buy a list that has five columns in it. 123 Main Street, that’s the address and John and Sally Smith, that’s the owner. Well, great. I’m going to send them a letter and the letter’s going contain …

It’s going to be sent to 123 Main Street. “Hello, John and Sally Smith. I’d like to buy your property for $1,000.” This is exactly how to fail. You have to get more into this and you need to become an expert at it if you really want to do this full-time. The real estate, ironically again, is secondary. Understanding data and scrubbing it and going through the process and learning every single time is … You’ll get better at it and better at it and buy property cheaper and cheaper and become more successful.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Because your time is valuable. My last big point is I don’t care how whether you buy it straight through CoreLogic which right now nationwide access is about $275 a month, the rest it’s $250 a month and it comes with so much more. No matter where you go do it, you are always spending more money in the end if you do it yourself. Let’s just think about this. I’m talking straight through CoreLogic, $275 a month for nationwide access. If you’re lucky and you’re spending $50 per county, that’s five counties. Okay. Nationwide access. So box point.

Jack Butala:                         You literally have at your fingertips … This isn’t a sales pitch. It’s just being smart about it.

Jill DeWit:                            Just trying to open everybody’s minds.

Jack Butala:                         You literally at your fingertips have access to 99% of the county accessor’s databases in the country. That’s so much power. I’m talking about the whole database. We just chose to specialize in land. The houses are in there. The hospitals are in there. Apartment buildings are in there. Skyscrapers in there. I’m talking about every single piece of property. When you go buy a list, what are you doing? You talk to the list seller. You say something like this, “I want all the properties in the 85258 area code and I only want the ones that are in this subdivision.” Right? Now you just completely set yourself up to fail.

Jill DeWit:                            By the way, I wanted to say one thing too, you’re not alone if you didn’t know this because I’m here to tell you there’s a certain individual in our world who happens to be from another country who doesn’t even know this data. I was actually watching him. I don’t know if you saw this too, Jack, but he did a Facebook Live thing a couple weeks ago and it was great. He’s giving on all kinds of free information. I’m like, “That’s so good of you. I’m glad you’re doing this.” Then he talked about, “Hey, and if you need help, one of our guys can get you a list.” I went, “What the heck?”

Jack Butala:                         Back tax list. That show’s coming up. You don’t want to concentrate on back tax property ever.

Jill DeWit:                            Just any list. Don’t buy a list from somebody else. Go get the data yourself. That’s my main thing. It’s going to save you time and money and energy and you put better results.

Jack Butala:                         If you really spend some time and learn how to use CoreLogic RealQuest properly, you’re going to put food on the table for the rest of your life for you and whoever you care about.

Jill DeWit:                            Bingo.

Jack Butala:                         That’s really what it comes down to the real estate is not so much … It doesn’t matter so much. I love your Red Wings jersey, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Thanks for noticing. It’s kind of a cool rainy here today. I thought it’s nice to get it off.

Jack Butala:                         It makes me kind of excited in an inappropriate way.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re so silly. Thank you for lightening this up actually because I got really deep here on this. I’m sorry. I am very sorry, listeners, because this is just one of my … This is a hot topic for me.

Jack Butala:                         I know. You have three of them.

Jill DeWit:                            I got to tell you. Yes, there’s a few. There’s a few hot topics for me this week I got to say. I kind of went in and said, “Can we please talk about these things because it’s still coming up?”

Jack Butala:                         In the interest of transparency, Jill wrote all five of the shows this week.

Jill DeWit:                            I did. I’m like, “Okay. I’m ticked now. We need to talk about these things.”

Jack Butala:                         I went into the database and I’m like, “What? Somebody already did all these notes. Fantastic.” I’m like, “I don’t have to do this.” Last week I’m like, “This is great.”

Jill DeWit:                            Hey, this is 2017 Jill Rant week.

Jack Butala:                         Jill Rant.

Jill DeWit:                            Jill Rant.

Jack Butala:                         I’m going to see if that dot com’s available.

Jill DeWit:                   That’s going to come up on our weekly member caller. One of them was trying to make a … What was that word? I come up with my own words and my own phrases.

Jack Butala:                         Like Jillify.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s it.

Jack Butala:                         Jillify it.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s it. Someone was going to try to Wikipedia and get that up there or something or Urban Dictionary some my words.

Jack Butala:                         Jillify it means just don’t take it so … It’s like California it. Californication.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Which actually that was really funny. That was so nice.

Jack Butala:                         We get a ton of emails from people, members and not members and everybody and sellers. This one stuck out. That thank you email.

Jill DeWit:                            I have to say this.

Jack Butala:                         Are you going to read it?

Jill DeWit:                            I am going to read this last little bit because …

Jack Butala:                         Read the whole thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Should I read the whole email?

Jack Butala:                         Sure. What the heck? We got a few minutes here.

Jill DeWit:                            All right. I’m going to read the whole email. I might paraphrase.

Jack Butala:                         We get these daily.

Jill DeWit:                            This was so nice. Jeff, I hope it’s okay that I’m reading this. “Hi, Jack and Jill. I bet you get curious about the people who buy your program and even subscribe to your membership, but never actually use it. Here’s a little about what’s going on with me. You never really know everything about yourself until you try something really new that falls outside your comfort zone and that was my experience with starting my land business. Despite the fact that when I first heard you guys detailed a concept, a giant light bulb went off in my head and I knew it was something I really wanted to do. I didn’t realized how much. I had structured my life mostly subconsciously to avoid situations where I was not 100% sure of myself.”

Jack Butala:                         Listen to how smart this guy is.

Jill DeWit:                            This guy’s brilliant I know.

Jack Butala:                         Our members are really a group of bright people.

Jill DeWit:                            Yup. “It took me several months and a lot of personal work to push through it, but I did and I’m so much the better for it. In a way I’ve got my website built. I’ve got my first mailer completed and ready to send out and I got a retired buddy of mine to take the calls when I’m at work. He’s ready, man. I’m ready to rock and roll.”

Jack Butala:                         He’s doing everything right.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally. “I’ll be sending out my first property for the Platinum Buyer’s Club this Sunday on my day off and I look forward to posting a land pin.” So good.

Jack Butala:                         Wow. He’s covering it all.

Jill DeWit:                            He is. This is so cute. “But the main reason for this note is to thank the both of you not only for the fantastic program, but for all the fantastic guidance and inspiration you both have given me with the podcast.” I know he’s listening. “I can’t tell you the number of times you’ve hit the nail on the head with something I was struggling with and most of the time it wasn’t even something to do with real estate.”

Jack Butala:                         Inspirational Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Jack Butala:                         It’s Jill’s inspiration.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re making me cry, Jeff. “I also greatly enjoy the member calls which I listen to on my phone as I’m walking around working. My day job is a …” Can I say what it is?

Jack Butala:                         Sure.

Jill DeWit:                            “It’s a mailman/truck driver in one of my old stomping grounds.” We’ll just leave it at that.

Jack Butala:                         Yeah, that’s good.

Jill DeWit:                            “I will be forever grateful for two things. One, the day you guys got bored and decided to create Land Academy.”

Jack Butala:                         I had no idea what we were signing up for.

Jill DeWit:                            He should write some more stuff for us. I’m going to ask Jeff to really do something here. This is so good. “Two, the day I got bored after listening to Mark Padolsky’s podcast and wonder if there was any other real estate podcast I should check out.” So good. This is my favorite coming up here. “With much affection and respect, Jeff.”

Jack Butala:                         Wow.

Jill DeWit:                            This is my favorite part, Jeff. You had me cracking up. I’ve told my friends this because it was so darn funny. “As a fifth generation Southern Californian, I have greatly enjoyed Jack’s Californification process over the last year. I can’t wait for him to start calling everyone dude and getting blonde highlights.” I am so ready for that also.

Jack Butala:                         It’s gray, not blonde. I am happier I have to say.

Jill DeWit:                            Gray is the new blonde. Is that what that is? Here we go. Gosh, thank you so much. He’s wearing shorts all the time now. It’s hilarious. Not that he didn’t in Arizona, but it’s even more …

Jack Butala:                         Oh, me?

Jill DeWit:                            Yes. He even owns sandals now. Oh, it’s hilarious. He can’t wait to get on his bike and I mean pedal bike.

Jack Butala:                         Not less angry. It’s still in here because when you’re from Detroit, you’re just angry. You’re born that way I think. No water.

Jill DeWit:                            I got to tell you Jeff and Jack, when you sent us this, it was so cool we shared it with some of our staff. Jack told me to write this phrase when I send it which is “This is why we fight.” I thought that was so cool. Do you need to explain that or does everybody get it?

Jack Butala:                         This is a group of pretty intelligent people. Why we fight, that’s how governments keep their soldiers. They send them stuff about how bad the enemy is. Some of it’s true, some of it’s not. In the second World War, there’s some awful stuff going on and it’s why it motivated these guys to get through it and win.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                         Some awful stuff was happening. Why we fight, I think it was even the name of a … It was an article for sure. I think it was a name of a paper that got circulated. I’m not sure. Jeff, you are the reason that we do this. I can’t thank you enough for speaking in full sentences and writing in full sentences and having some actual punctuations.

Jill DeWit:                            Sharing that with us.

Jack Butala:                         That was well said, sir.

Jill DeWit:                            That was so cool.

Jack Butala:                         You are why we fight. That’s exactly right, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Bingo. Join us in another episode where Jack and Jill discuss how to use information-

Jack Butala:                         That’s me.

Jill DeWit:                            -and inspiration, that’s me, to get just about anything we want.

Jack Butala:                         We use it everyday to buy property for half of what it’s worth and sell it immediately.

Jill DeWit:                            You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Jack Butala:                         Thanks for that save there.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re very welcome. That was a long pause.

Jack Butala:                         It was. I lost my place on the script as always.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s okay. You were so excited.

Jack Butala:                         My gray hair got in the way.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s it. That’s really funny, but it’s good.

Jack Butala:                         Information and inspiration to buy undervalued property.

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